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A Reason To Fight (III)
Posted By: Phoenix99<reverberation99@hotmail.com>
Date: 19 July 2004, 2:55 AM

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A Reason To Fight (III)

       "Hey man, with a job like mine, ya gotta find the good in the bad, ya gotta. But I'll tell ya one thing, these Covenant may be some badass mother fuckers, but they can still bleed"
       "Right," I replied
       "Now lets go get some of that painkiller for your head huh?"
       I followed the Marine into a building next to the smoking Pelican. The building had managed to keep its walls relatively intact from the night's bombardment, comparably to most of the other crumbling buildings. We stepped over rubble and ducked through the collapsed doorframe. Inside the building was not much different from the ravaged outdoors. There wasn't any furniture or anything really for that matter inside the room. A fire had scorched the back wall, and the ceiling had caved in to our left. Bright beams of light shown through the large whole in the ceiling to our left. Rubble and ash lined the floor and crunched under our feet as we walked to the back of the room. Up against the blackened wall were the rest of the occupants that had been inside the Pelican. One Marine, the one whom the others had called "Mac" on the Pelican, lay on the floor with is head propped up against a soldier's pack. Another Marine had pulled up his sleeve and was administering an I.V.
       "How's he doin' Preston?" asked the Marine I had followed in.
       "He's doin' ok I guess. He's still out cold, but I think he should be comin' around soon, he really hit that bulkhead hard man." I remembered when we had crashed. Mac hadn't been strapped in and was thrown against the wall of the bay.
       "Yeah, but that son of a bitch'll pull through, you know Mac, he doesn't give up that easy"
       "Yeah," replied Preston with a chuckle before turning his head to the medical equipment set up around him, "I'm just given'em another hypo."
       The young man in his late twenties had his back up against the wall and was fast asleep. He had a gash along his right shoulder but looked relatively unharmed. The Marine sat down next to a medical pack on the ground and beckoned me to do the same. I sat down across from him as he took off his helmet and rummaged through the medical pack. He pulled out 2 blue pills which he handed to me with a canteen of water.
       "The name's Jared," said the Marine while I washed down the pills.
       "John" I replied extending my hand. His grip was firm and his hands callused. Jared zipped up the medical pack and pushed his helmet under his head as he lay down on his back with a sigh.
       "Man, I was enjoying a well needed rest when those ass-holes decided to light up the city," said Jared with a far off look in his eyes.
       "Yeah, me and the wife were gunna go out to dinner that night," replied Preston while applying a damp cloth on Mac's forehead. "I was gunna get a big steak. Oh man, I havn't had a real steak in so long"
       "Hell yeah man" agreed Jared. The two Marines continued their conversation, but I was lost in memory of July. I recalled that less than a day ago, she was curled up, sleeping next to me. Yesterday she was in my arms, safe. But now, now she was gone. Torn from my grasp. My eyes burned as the memory of her filled my mind. I looked up to see the two Marines staring at me. I could see sympathy in their eyes. Wiping my eyes I turned towards them.
       "Man..." Said Jared slowly, "I'm sorry about what happened last night. You couldn't do anything about it, you have to realize that. I know it's hard. I've watched friends die in my arms. But you just gotta keep pushin on." Preston bowed his head.
       "How do you get through it?" I asked through choked back tears "How do you go on every day."
       "Because I gotta. Because the Covenant bastards who killed'em are still alive. That alone keeps me going. Vengeance my friend. A reason to fight." Jared's eyes burned into mine. His face rigid as stone.
       "But, the pain is just so—" I choked out
       "John... John, look at me," said Jared in a hushed voice as I raised my eyes to his, "use it."
       I nodded my head and wiped away the tears that I had failed to contain. "Wasn't there another person on the Pelican last night? Yeah there was, a man and his child. Where are they?" I asked trying to change the subject. The two Marines bowed their heads. Preston looked up.
       "The crash... it... They're not with us anymore. The crash it..." I could see that Preston was struggling to find the right words. "The man couldn't hold onto the baby tight enough... and when we hit..." Preston's eyes were wet with tears. I bowed my head.
       "And the man," I asked quietly, "Where's he?"
       "Once we had gotten off the Pelican and set up camp here... He found our medical supplies, and... We had left to go back to the ship for more supplies... He found the Hypos... We found him dead when we came back. The grief was just too much for him. He blamed himself for the death of the child. But no one could've held onto a kid in a crash like that." Preston looked to the door of the room. "We buried him outside with his child." There was silence. No one spoke.
       "And how about him?" I said nodding towards the young man asleep against the wall.
       "His name's Michael, he's fine. Been asleep for a while."
       "Well guys," broke in Jared, "I think we should get some sleep too, We've had a long night. We don't know what we'll be facing tomorrow." Preston agreed with a stern nod. I lay down on my back with my hands behind my head. The sun was still shining through the gaping hole in the ceiling. Preston and Jared had already fallen asleep as confirmed by the light snores that I heard around me. The medical equipment hooked up to Mac gave random beeps, but besides that it was silent. It was almost relaxing. My head had stopped pounding and my body was at ease. I began to drift off into a dreamless sleep.
       I awoke to Jared shaking my shoulder.
       "Hey man" whispered Jared "Wake up." I sat up rubbing the sleep from my eyes. Propping myself up with my hands I looked over at the other two Marines. It was dark out and I could see the stars shining through the hole in the ceiling. Michael had awaken and was crouched on the balls of his feet looking at the two Marines. Jared and Preston were holding their rifles, heads cocked to the side, listening.
       "What's goin' on, why do you have your—" but I was cut off by a finger to the lips from Jared.
       "Listen" he whispered to me and pointed up. I tilted my head to the ceiling and listened. At first I couldn't hear anything. I strained to hear harder, and could make out a faint hum.
       "Landing craft" whispered Preston without taking his eyes off of the ceiling. I listened as the humming became louder. I looked at Jared who glanced back with a stern countenance.

To Be Continued.